Nice. Focused on the OP: "Thinking about trying again...."
Maybe you should, I don't see why it could be that hard to just try and see how it goes, specially if you have a good CMS allowing you to insert this here and there.
Perhaps things changed for the good due to Panda-Penguin. Really? yes. My group of sites has lots of images on one side and more content than pictures on the other side. The champion was an ugly duck, I call it that way because no matter what I tried, it brought better money on a simple design. Anyway you get it on the difference among my sites, and while G changes killed two sites (with original content) and weakened my ugly duck, the content sites went up like a rocket in traffic, not so much in earnings but the roles changed and the earnings stayed almost the same, like 1% higher. What I'm saying is there are cases where sites went down, others went up, you won't know where you are until you try.
Sadly, more changes on G caused the earnings to go down overall on my network, so I'm below my average but working on recovering earnings. GA still not a waste of time for me. Facebook became the waste of time!
(and of course many of you agree) no ROI or zero, yes I know some cases work. But besides working on my stuff, I work on a media company, and despite the absolutely garbage ROI from Twitter and Facebook, the higher powers insist on having fanpages and lots of fans, more more likes, "we need more likes", that-really-sucks. Back on the main subject: if you are not critical about your sites or income, and if any advertising option pays bills, then it's not a waste of time.
What has been a waste of time in my case is trying to understand Google Adsense :( I'm working harder on figuring out and while money keeps coming, no idea on what impacts on what (some other forum member mentioned this too).
Ian: The ability to take the complex and make it quite simple, apparently has no value to Panda...
My sites were born due to several reasons, money was not one of them. It brought work, people interested on what I did and that was a good occasional income. Then GA helped to pay expenses as the sites were growing, some traveling here and there too. But I can't get this idea off that the new generation doesn't put value on good content, not only Panda.
There are posts that go beyond my understanding, lots of money daily weekly, monthly, I don't judge them just saying I don't fully understand where they are, where they were, how did they do that? one man band? a team? gazillion unique visitors per day? how many sites? I remember a few posts around stating "adding like 300-500-5,000 pages per week" ok like... from where? how? don't get this on a negative context, it's just that I'm a one man band and I don't understand the size of the team or work the big winners are on.